The Sambalpuri saree is a type of traditional garment from the state of Odisha or Orissa that has been woven in towns like Sonepur, Sambalpur and Balgarh and regions like Boudh district and Balangir district for many years. Sambalpuri sarees are traditional, hand-woven Ikat saris distinguished by the unique way in which the designs are created using tie and dye. This is one of the most beautiful regional sarees of India that for many years was only produced in the Orissa and had a limited customer base. Once Indira Gandhi, the erstwhile Prime Minister of India started wearing Orissa Sambalpuri sarees the demand for them increased. Over the years, Sambalpuri sarees became extremely popular across India and today these saris are internationally appreciated for their unique, ethnic beauty.
Sambalpuri sarees can be woven from cotton as well as silk as both of these fabrics are commonly found in Orissa. Sambalpuri silk sarees are the fancier versions, distinguished by their fine appearance and lustrous glow which is why they are generally preferred for special occasions and celebratory events; whereas the Sambalpuri cotton saree is largely preferred for daily wear because of its light and comfortable feel and earthy look. Whatever the base textile used, the main highlight is the Sambalpuri saree design which is like no other. It is created using the art of ‘Bandhakala’, a tie and dye method descended from the Bandhini dyes of Gujarat and Rajasthan. In this form of traditional craftsmanship, the warp and weft threads are first tied according to the designs visualized by the weaver, dyed into one or more bright hues and then woven into gorgeous textiles. The tying procedure basically protects certain parts of the fabric from absorbing the dye color later on, creating the gorgeous, multi-hued and often kaleidoscopic designs associated with tie and dye. These intricate weaves are also termed Ikat and Sambalpuri saree designs are essentially Ikat designs, with the distinctive lines pattern and subtle visual contrasts. This is a very versatile weaving technique which allows the weavers to create visually appealing designs and intricate patterns on the Sambalpuri sarees. This is why this saree is so in demand even for formal wear and special occasions despite its somewhat coarse feel and rough look. In fact, many consider the soft yet coarse texture part of the beauty of the Sampalpuri saree.
All Sambalpuri sarees are woven on a handloom and may take several weeks to create; they can be made with either silk or cotton but are always created using the distinctive tie and dye method described above. However, despite these overarching characteristics, there are actually many different types of Sambapuri sarees. Some common varieties include Sonepuri, Barpali, Pasapali, Bapta and Bomkai, all of which are named after the area or town where they are produced (or rather, where they have been produced for many years). Each of these types varies on the basis of a number of factors such as which type of fabric is preferred, which colors are used, what types of designs are used and so on.
This is why women will find a tremendous variety of options in Sambalpuri saree design patterns. The borders of these sarees, which are always in a contrasting color to the main body, are its main attraction, along with the pallu. Both of these portions come decorated with beautiful, eye-catching motifs created using the tie and dye method. These motifs usually include deeply symbolic motifs such as the shankha (shell), phula (flower) and chakra (wheel). Traditionally, simple nature inspired motifs as well as geometric shapes and lines were the trademark designs on this type of saree. The superb craftsmanship of the weavers meant that these sarees are often decorated with very artistic and aesthetically pleasing designs, even in their most traditional form. Today, women can also purchase a latest Sambalpuri saree with a wider range of religion, mythology and animal inspired motifs decorating the borders and pallus.
Styling and Trends of Sambalpuri Sarees
Sambalpuri sarees along with many other regional saris of India have become extremely popular and well-recognized of late. People have begun appreciating the subtle beauty and attractive qualities of the hand woven textiles and age old designs that go into the making of a Sambalpuri saree. They are available in a vast range of colors, from soft, feminine hues to earthy, muted shades, so women can wear them for a number of different occasions.
Sambalpuri silk sarees are best worn to a ceremony, festival or minor wedding occasions, where an elegant yet traditional dress is required. They can be accessorized with tribal jewelry, wooden necklaces, beaded jewelry and high heel sandals. When it comes to a daily wear Sambalpuri cotton saree, it is best to go for simple wooden beads necklaces orsilver plated jewelry.